Yesterday morning most of the Seattle Works staff woke up earlier than usual – but for starting the day two hours early, there was no grumbling. After all, we we’re attending the Jefferson Awards Breakfast which meant good food and better examples of some truly spectacular community service in Washington State.
Meeghan Black from Evening Magazine guided us through the ceremony which featured short clips of each participant. Keynote speaker was last year’s winner Cindy Nofziger of Schools for Salone. She talked about the work her organization has been doing in Sierra Leone and the concept of responding to someone asking about why she volunteers as “How could I not?”.
This year’s nominees were from all across Washington state. We started the breakfast with Olowo-n’djo Tchala who is advancing women’s rights in Togo through his fair trade shea butter company, Alaffia. The company supports not only people in Togo but local workers in Olympia!
Other nominees included Jared Costanzo of the Student Voice Project, Karen Krejcha who cofounded Autism Empowerment based out of Vancouver, and Michael Mowat who took FISH Food Banks of Pierce County to a whole new level with his mobile food bank.
But the winner of the morning (besides, you know, the community who has all these fantastic volunteers) selected by the public votes and a panel was Julia Sheriden. Julia’s very personal story of struggling to get her benefits after serving her country with the US Marine Corps and wanting to make sure other veterans were able to access their benefits. She’ll be representing Washington at the national level!
Overall it was a great way to start the day and we’re so inspired to see these truly exemplary volunteers. Watch the stories yourself here.